PRESS RELEASE: JOHNNY MADDOX, THE KING OF RAGTIME RELEASES 3 NEW CDS
by Bryan M. Eagle III & Mark Linn
Bryan M. Eagle III
Crazy Otto Music, Inc
Crazy Otto Music, Inc
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Oct. 29, 2002 - Crazy Otto Music announces the first major releases by Johnny Maddox in over 30 years. Johnny Maddox launched his career in 1950 with his first record "Crazy Bone Rag" with "St. Louis Tickle" on the B side. That record sold 22,000 copies in its first five weeks of release, a staggering number at the time. It established both Johnny and the fledgling Dot Record label. Dot later went on to become one of the most influential labels in the 50s handling artists like the Mills Brothers, Bill Vaughn, Pat Boone, Liberace and Eddie Peabody.
In 1955, Johnny recorded the first all-piano record, "The Crazy Otto Medley" which became the first ragtime record to sell over 1,000,000 copies and was number 1 on the charts for 14 weeks. From then on, the name "Crazy Otto" stuck with Johnny. From 1950 through 1972, Johnny recorded over 50 albums and 87 singles for Dot and later MCA records. His awards and achievements are numerous: he has recorded 9 gold singles, was voted "America's No. 1 Jukebox Artist" in 1954, and even has his own star on Hollywood Boulevard.
The New CDS:
Back Home In Tennessee, Cowboys And Indians, Where The Southern Crosses The Yellow Dog
Back Home In Tennessee (CO-004) celebrates Johnny's return home to Gallatin, Tennessee, after a lifetime spent performing around the world - and living in Austria for a time. The title track, "Just Try To Picture Me Back Home In Tennessee," is the most famous song associated with the state and an Al Jolson standard. Other songs include well known ones such as "Are You From Dixie," and "Waiting For The Robert E. Lee" as well as obscure songs such as the previously unpublished "Corsica Rag." Corsica Rag was given to Johnny by its composer Joe Jordan. All of these songs are performed in the distinctive style that made Johnny famous.
On Cowboys And Indians (CO-005) Johnny plays favorite songs of the Old West, inspired by his summer residency at the historic Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado. Bob Wills' "San Antonio Rose" was Johnny's first million seller, and it is reprised here, along with songs associated with Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Eddy Arnold, and the ubiquitous Bing Crosby. As Johnny always likes to mix things up -- and prove his point that this music was meant for dancing -- there are also tangos, waltzes, cakewalks, and fox trots thrown into the mix, as well as "The Yellow Rose of Texas." Songs by great turn of the century composers such as Percy Wenrich, Grant Clarke, Harry Williams, and Albert and Harry Von Tilzer, are represented and discussed in the extensive liner notes that accompany each release.
W.C. Handy called Johnny Maddox "the white boy with the colored fingers" after hearing him play in 1952. On Where The Southern Crosses The Yellow Dog (C0-006) Johnny pays tribute to the man who gave America the blues, playing Handy classics such as "St. Louis Blues", "Yellow Dog Rag", and "Joe Turner Blues" (as well as lesser known Handy pieces) at the tempo they were originally performed -- fast! Johnny has always been partial to the blues, because the form allows for his own arrangement on every song. Eleven additional tracks of popular blues, rags, and Dixieland jazz complement the Handy material. Included in the accompanying booklet are color reproductions of rare sheet music cover art -- including some controversial covers published by Handy himself -- from Johnny's collection of over 200,000 piece of sheet music.
In addition to being one of the best selling ragtime pianist, Johnny Maddox is also a noted musicologist, historian and archivist with an extensive collection of turn-of-the-century 78 rpm records, Edison wax cylinders, and sheet music. His memories and stories of the times and artists whose paths he crossed were an essential ingredient to completion of this project. Some of these stories are collected in the 16 page liners notes on each CD.
Additional information on Johnny Maddox and the new releases is included on our web site, http://www.crazyotto.com.
Press information, including Johnny's detailed biography, photos and one sheets on each release are located at our Electronic Press Kit here.